MARIA WAGLAND / LONDON
Nuremburg-based consultancy and investment company Intro Verwaltungsgesellschaft is to take control of British Airways' struggling German subsidiary DBA on 1 July.
The sale follows EasyJet's decision not to exercise an option to buy DBA earlier this year after the German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit resisted efforts to impose the operator's business model on the German airline. EasyJet blamed the "rigidity of German labour laws" and DBA's poor financial performance due to Lufthansa's "aggressive pricing policy".
BA agreed to sell DBA to Intro for a nominal €1 ($1.18) after discussions with potential buyers. BA has undertaken to invest £25 million ($29.4 million) in the airline during its first year of operation under new ownership, as well as underwrite its fleet of 16 aircraft for one year at a cost of £2 million a month.
Intro says it is aims to increase productivity by 20% in the first year, and boost revenue by 10% "to bridge the weak holiday months".
Once the airline reaches profitability, Intro says it will sell DBA shares to third-party investors as well as employees. Hans Rudolf Whohrl, who founded German charter carrier Nurnberger Flugdienst, which was subsequently integrated into Eurowings, heads Intro. He was also a DBA board member from 1994 to 2001.
"The aim is that DBA will not, in the future, be the cheapest airline, but will offer the best price for quality service," says Whohrl.
DBA operates a fleet of 16 Boeing 737s on domestic and international services from Berlin, Cologne-Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart.
Source: Flight International